Health and Safety
Swimming has historically been associated with exercise and health. The ability to swim builds self-confidence and leads to a wide variety of other aquatic related activities. However, the water and sometimes the air above the water can contribute to unhealthy conditions for the bathers in your swimming pool unless proper water quality management is maintained.
Preventing people from getting sick due to contact or ingestion of contaminated water is the primary reason why swimming pools are constantly treated with disinfectants. Gastroenteritis-related disease outbreaks remain the most common of swimming pool related illnesses.
Gastroenteritis is a stomach and intestinal disease that can range from a minor stomachache and diarrhea to death. Most gastroenteritis outbreaks in water are caused by accidental fecal releases (AFRs) in or around the swimming pool. Cryptosporidium and Pseudomonas are the leading cause of gastroenteritis.
Cryptosporidium parvum (Crypto) is a protozoan and is mainly distributed through diarrhea, which can dilute in the pool water and be less noticeable. The infective stage of the organism, the oocyst, measures 4 to 6 microns in diameter or about the size of a red blood cell and is resistant to chlorine. Ingestion of fewer than 10 oocysts can result in cryptosporidium. Infection typically lasts 10 to 14 days. The symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and abdominal cramps.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen of humans that causes urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, and soft tissue infections. It tolerates a wide variety of physical conditions, including temperature, and is notorious for its resistance to antibiotics.
Like Crypto, Giardia lamblia is also a protozoon. Giardia is the most frequent cause of non-bacterial diarrhea in North America. It is spread via contaminated food and water and by direct person-to-person contact. In swimming pools, it is mainly distributed through solid stool. Although easier to remove solid stool, once seen in the pool, all bathers should leave and the entire body of water should be considered contaminated. Infection typically lasts 1 to 2 weeks and the symptoms are similar to Crypto. Giardia has become recognized as one of the most common causes of waterborne disease (drinking and waterborne) in humans in the United States.
In addition to Crypto and Giardia, diseases such as E coli and Hepatitis A can be serious risks to bathers in the event of an AFR. At Amazing Pools & Spas, Inc., we use this knowledge to battle all risks that may be present in your swimming pool.
Aside from threats to your health, we try to take preventative measures to avoid threats to your safety, such as entrapment, proper pool bonding, proper storage of chemicals, health codes, diving board removal, and more.
The “ENERGY SAVING” revolution is sweeping the nation. Many states have started to mandate the installation of energy efficient equipment for new constructions. It is being said that all pumps sold will have to energy efficient. This means you will have no choice but to pay the higher costs that are associated with these items. However, fear not! There is a reason why these items are being placed into our laws. They are capable of saving you substantial amounts to money for the life of your swimming pool. The reason they are capable of do this? Simple. They have been made smarter
Variable speed “smart” pumps deliver the exact amount of water needed to perform different tasks. It is adaptable to any pool, spa or water feature application. Some pumps have onboard computers, which can be programmed to manage multiple functions. They can automatically set themselves and adjust as needed since they can constantly monitor water flow and electrical current. A Standard pool pump, operating between 6 and 12 hours per day, can consume as much energy as all other home appliances combined, often costing more than $1,000 per year (based on national average of $0.15). Smart pumps can typically cut energy use by 30% to 90%, generally saving $600 to $1,400 in utility costs annually.
Standard incandescent swimming pool light bulbs require approximately 500 watts of electricity to displace enough light to illuminate a standard sized swimming pool. The amount of watts needed to operate these lights cause a great amount of heat to go through the light fixture. This heat reduces the life of the light bulb inside, which can only last for up to 2000 hours at best. The heat also causes a vacuum effect within the fixture that can suck water into the fixture, causing it to damage the entire unit.
LED (Light Emitting Diode) automated color-changing pool and spa lights feature LED technology and is leading the way in energy efficient lighting, while offering the greatest savings in lifetime value, quality of light, and controllability. With LED lighting, combinations of individual colored LEDs are mixed and matched to achieve a vibrant spectrum of colors. These combinations are power sequenced to illuminate and cycle through colors at varying speeds, and in different sequences of color. LEDs offer super efficiency while being brighter than traditional incandescent pool lights. LED pool lights only output fewer than 40 watts of electricity and can last 30,000 hours or more, minimizing replacement cost and disposal.
A Standard incandescent bulb, operating for 2 hours every day in a residential swimming pool will consume approximately 365 Kilowatt hours per year, at a cost of approximately $91 (based on $0.25 per kilowatt hour pricing). Continuing at that rate, the bulb will have a maximum life span of approximately 2.5 years.
An LED energy efficient bulb, operating at the same hours each day (for the same cost) will cost approximately $7 per year and the maximum life span will be approximately 41 years.
Automated controls have the ability to be the Albert Einsteins of your swimming pool control system. When energy efficient items, such as smart pumps and lights, are wired into an automated control system they can be programmed for maximum efficiency.
With personalized features, we can program a specific setting with your unique label to place it in motion. When John comes home from work to relax in his spa. He can go to his wall mounted control unit and touch the button labeled “John”. This turns the valves from pool mode to spa mode. At the same time it turns on the jet pump, spa heater, and outdoor speakers so he can listen to his favorite music. This is all done with the push of one button and he did not have to go out to his equipment and touch any valves of electrified control. What’s more is, while he was at work, his system was programmed to run using the least possible amount of energy to keep the pool and spa circulating. If John is a little more tech savvy, he can have his automation system linked to his phone. That way he can push the John button on his cellphone when he leaves work. When gets home 30 minutes later he will have the spa hot and ready to relax as soon as he changes out of his work cloths.
A new feature with certain automation systems are internet monitoring of your system. When used with an automation control system and smart pump, we can monitor your equipments operation from our office. We can set your automation system to e-mail us when there is an issue with your system. This allows us to make sure your equipment is operating at peak efficiency.
We encourage you to research these items for yourself to see how the savings can change your thinking about your swimming pool.
Swimming pools can be wonderfully colored and beautifully decorated with various mosaics, rock formations, and water features. However, without proper filtration your beautiful swimming pool would be nothing but a disease-ridden swamp that can host various types of insects and bacteria.
In regards to determining what is best for the water in your swimming pool the difference in filters is based on the size of micron that is captured by it. The human hair has a diameter of approximately 70 microns. The smallest particle visible to the human eye measures at 40 microns. Smaller in size is the red blood cell, measuring at 8 microns. Even smaller still is a bacterium, measuring as small as 1 micron. The smaller the micron captured by the filter, the better the filtration of the pool water.
There are three types of filters: sand, cartridge, and diatomaceous earth (D.E.).
Sand filtration is the oldest type of water filtration dating back to the very first pools. Sand filters were used to filter the water inside the roman bathhouses. Sand filters push water through various grades of sand, capturing dirt and bacteria. Sand is considered a permanent media, lasting between 5 and 15 years before replacement. Sand filters can filter particles between 50 to 25 microns.
Cartridge filtration is the newest form of filtration. Cartridge filters push water through pleated polyester or treated paper, where particles are captured. Cartridge filters usually require about half the filter room as comparable sand or diatomaceous earth filters. Cartridge filters are found on smaller pools and are utilized extensively for spa filtration. The normal life of a cartridge element is about six months. Cartridge filters can filter particles between 25 to 15 microns.
Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) consists of tiny fossilized skeletons of small sea plankton. D.E. is held against a cloth like material (known as a grid) by the pressure of the water, causing the grid to be coated. As the water passes through the D.E., the suspended particles are trapped in the channels of the skeletal material. D.E. cartridges can last between 1 and 3 years. Regular filter cleanings can extend the life of the filter grids. D.E. filters can filter particles between 6 to 3 microns.
Although the sand filters can go longer periods before the sand must be recycled or replaced, the ability to let smaller bacterium go through the spaces in the sand makes it difficult to keep the water clear at times and can allow more stubborn algae to stay in the water longer.
The biggest problem with cartridge filters is the inability to get the cartridges completely clean. If the cartridges are to be cleaned properly, they need to be scrubbed and left to sit for a day. Most pool service companies cannot do this without charging more money. They will typically spray the cartridges with water or some sort of detergent and place them back into the filter right away. This process will not get the cartridges as clean as needed and more cleanings will be required.
The main complaint with D.E. filters is the mess that is sometimes associated with cleaning the grids. However, based on our training and experience, we would recommend the use of D.E. filters for swimming pools because they provide the best filtration of your pool water and are worth the inconvenience that comes with cleaning them.
“Federal Swimming Pool and Spa Drain Cover Standard”
Entrapment is when a part of a person’s body is sucked on to a main drain cover or other suction line. Entrapment can cause someone to get their hair pulled into a main drain grate, have their body stuck to the bottom of a swimming pool and/or spa, have eyes be sucked out of their skull, or even be eviscerated.
On December 19, 2007, the President signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, named after the daughter of Nancy Baker and the granddaughter of former Secretary of State James Baker. Graeme Baker died in a tragic incident in June 2002 after the suction from a spa drain entrapped her under the water. This Act was first introduced by Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL) and was supported by the Baker
family and Safe Kids Worldwide.
There is an annual average of 283 drowning deaths (2003-2005) and 2,700 emergency room-treated submersion injuries (2005-2007) involving children younger than 5 in pools and spas. In addition, from 1997-2007, there were 74 reported incidents associated with suction entrapment, including 9 deaths and 63 injuries. The new law is aimed at reducing these deaths and injuries by making pools safer, securing the environment around them, and educating consumers and industry on pool safety.
The Act specifies that on or after December 19, 2008, swimming pool and spa drain covers available for purchase in the United States must meet specific performance requirements. Additionally, public swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs must meet requirements for installation of compliant drain covers. New drain covers which meet the current standard are now beginning to make their way into the
marketplace. Additionally, in certain instances, public pools and spas must have additional devices or systems designed to prevent suction entrapment.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff has prepared this guidance document that spells out the technical requirements of Section 1404 of the Act, along with CPSC staff’s answers to certain enforcement and legal issues. This document takes into account comments provided to CPSC during an open comment period in March 2008. Comments were provided by a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, state government officials, pool industry representatives, safety equipment manufacturers and representatives, consumer safety organizations, and others.
We urge all public pool and spa owners and property managers to carefully review this document and to constantly monitor the National Swimming Pool Foundation (www.nspf.com) and the CPSC (www.cpsc.org) websites to get any updates.
We recommend closing down your swimming pool, wading pool, and/or spa areas until these issues are resolved.