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automate a swimming pool? Today's hectic
lifestyle makes time a precious commodity. You
may not always have the time to do things around
the pool: things that need to be done and things
that enhance the appearance of the pool
surroundings and make pool ownership more
enjoyable. Controllers can be used to control
the filter cycle, chemical additions, water
temperature, water level. pool sanitizing
equipment, outdoor lighting, safety equipment,
pool cleaning, pool covers and other automated
equipment. Use the power of a button and a
programmable controller or a pool automation
device to save time and effort, so that you can
get down to the serious business of enjoying
your pool. If problems arise, refer to the
Page, as a source of problem-solving
information, broken down into various
categories. Scroll down the page and click on the linked
or images, in the archived answers below, to access additional information, on that topic or product.
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Problem-Solving Information, in a question and
► Automating The Pool?
Browsing through the website, I became intrigued by pool
automation. I would like to maintain the pool myself, but I
don't always have the time to spend on things. The pool is
20,000 gallons, inground with a plaster finish and heated
with a heat pump. What can pool automation do for me? Thanks
for the input.
Arnold B., 4/3/2014
A lot! A pool automation system can turn your filter on and
off. A Salt Chlorine Generator can be made to turn on and
off with the automated filter cycle. This equipment will
produce chlorine right in the pool, with a one time addition
of salt to the pool. A dial will allow you to increase or
decrease the amount of chlorine being produced. The amount
of other chemicals required is minimized. The
heat pump can
be activated with the automated filter cycle and controlled
to the desired temperature. The cleaning of the pool can be
accomplished with a controllable
robotic pool cleaner or an
in-the-floor cleaning system. There are automatic
safety covers, automatic pool lighting and
pool security alarms.
The pool water level can be automatically controlled. Pool
automation can eliminate much of the daily work required for
sanitizing, maintenance, heating and cleaning. I hope that
I've kept you intrigued. Good luck.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 4/3/2014
► Automation 101?
We have a small community pool
(250,000 litres) that has a four electrode salt chlorinator
that works very well. What we need is a chlorine controller
with a sensor that we can place in the pipe line, that can
turn the salt chlorine generator on and off to maintain a pre
determined constant level of free chlorine. Our generator
has a relay to allow for this rather than turning the whole
machine on and off. Do you have a suitable product that you
could recommend please? Kind regards.
Lawrence L., 1/23/2014
The information below was provided by Sean Assam of
AutoPilot: a manufacturer of salt chlorine generators
Based on your e-mail, what you need is an ORP/pH controller
system. What is important with salt chlorine generators is
that the ORP probe be a GOLD TIPPED probe, rather than
Platinum band probe. This is because the gold tip is less
reactive to the oxygen and hydrogen byproducts from the
cell. Your probes will be mounted in an off line "flow cell"
rather in in the pipe line. The ORP controller is usually
combined with a pH probe and controller because the ORP is
very dependent on the stability of the pH level. From there,
you have several options. A basic controller will give you
the ORP and pH control. You can then upgrade to systems that
have dual control capabilities. In other words, you can
control a primary and secondary chlorinator device. The
upgraded controllers also have the ability to connect and
communicate with building automation systems, or computer
access for data logging, and remote monitoring/operation for
a monthly access charge. What you need to consider is the
mode in which the salt chlorine generator is ORP controlled
(activated). There are three options: Dry Contact - this is
a simple OPEN circuit or CLOSED circuit condition signal to
the salt chlorine generator, no voltage. Salt chlorine
generators with this mode will sustain damage if any voltage
is sent through this connection point. Low Voltage -
typically 24 volt signal to the salt chlorine generator.
This is not as common. High Voltage - typically 120 volt
signal to the salt chlorine generator. This is usually used
to power the salt chlorine generator ON and OFF. However,
your description indicates that there is a relay as part of
your chlorine generator. This relay may require 120 volts.
You will need to know which one of these three modes your
system is to be connected to. AutoPilot doesn't endorse any
specific ORP/pH control system. Again, this should be with
Gold ORP probes. Finally, depending on the make and model of
your salt chlorine generator, you may need to adjust your
output control setting to 0% or 100%. Please check with the
manufacturer of your salt system.
I hope that this will prove helpful.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 1/24/2014
► Seeking Automation?
Alan and company, I will be having a
new pool to come together with a new house in Spain. I am
little bit lost as to what I will need to service the pool
(never had one before. I am in favour of an automated
system. I have been recommended a salt chlorination system,
but what else do I need? i.e. what other chemicals and
products to keep the pool usable and self serviceable? What
are the overall costs of servicing the pool approximately?
Thanks for any assistance you can provide.
Tony R., Spain, 8/7/2012
A salt chlorine generator is a good first step. It can
provide for most of the chemical needs of the pool.
Additional chemicals will be needed to control the pH, total
alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine stabilizer.
Because salt chlorine generators tend to make the pH rise,
over time, the addition of an Automatic pH Controller, will
simplify the maintenance. If minerals, such as iron are
present, that will have to be addressed. A water analysis is
the best way to determine actual chemical needs. I would
suggest that provisions be made for an
vacuum. This can help eliminate a lot of the cleaning.
pumps, fossil fuel heaters or Solar Heaters can be automated
and can be made more economical by the addition of an
automatic pool safety cover. Pool lighting systems,
water level, pool alarms and monitoring can be part of your
automated pool. I hope that this information will prove
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 8/7/2012
► Auto-Leveler Keeps The Pool Full?
What is the easiest way to make sure
that our inground pool's water level does not drop too low,
while we are away on vacation? I would rather to something
before we leave and not risk damage to my pump. Besides, if
the pump runs dry, my salt chlorine generator wouldn't work
and who know what kind of algae bloom we'll come home to. I
would rather not have to depend on rainfall alone. Thanks
for any suggestions.
Jessica T, Smithtown, NY, 3/4/2011
What you need is a Auto-Filler.
There is a modestly priced product, that requires no
installation and will automatically keep the pool filled to
a preset level, of your choice. You simple attach it to a
garden hose and place it on top of the coping, with the end
extending into the pool. When the level gets too low, it
allows water to flow into the pool. Another model is high
tech. It is wireless and does
not require a garden hose, running
to the pool. All you'll see is
a small wireless sensor, placed
somewhere along the water line. I'm sure that
one of these will suit your needs.
I hope that this information will be
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/4/2011
► Reducing Maintenance?
I will be installing an ozonator and a
mineral sanitizer in my heated inground pool. My wife is
sensitive to chlorine and we want to completely avoid all
such use. Do you think that this combination will work? Is
there equipment that I can install that will automatically
adjust the water? I am interested in reducing the
maintenance and time requirements, as much as possible.
Thank you. Terrific website!
The combination of an ozonator and a
Dual-Ion Mineralizer could satisfy the sanitizing requirements of
your pool. With
these devices in
places, you might still
need a very low level of chlorine. You could opt to use the
less odorous and irritating bromine to provide a low level
of persistent sanitation-oxidation. Totally eliminating
chlorine or bromine is not easily done. Reducing the level
required is attainable, with the ozonator and mineral
sanitizer. There are controllers that can be used to operate
just about everything that is electrical and then some:
filtration, temperature, pool lighting,
safety systems, water chemistry,
automatic pool safety covers and more. They can definitely
save time. I hope that I have been helpful. Enjoy the pool.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 3/18/2006
► Controlling The Chemistry?
We run a small community pool and
would like to research a better means of adding chemicals.
The pool uses liquid chlorine and acid and these are added
with feeding pumps, tied into the operation of the filter
and pump. The problem is that the bather use is anything but
consistent and sometimes there is too much chlorine and
other times there is not enough. Are there controllers that
can be added? How expensive are they? Thanks for the help.
B. M., Knoxville, TN, 6/23/2010
Yes, controllers can be added that will help regulate the
addition of the chlorine and acid. It should give you more
uniform conditions. So
far as the cost of these controllers
is concerned, I will have to pass. There are several
manufacturers of such equipment. I suggest that you consult
with a pool company that deals with non-residential pools.
There are other chemical saving and highly controllable
sanitizing methods, that are suitable for use in
commercial-type pools. An Ozone Generator, for example,
would deal with the introduction of bather wastes and would
decrease the amount of chlorine required to maintain a
satisfactory level. Salt chlorine generators and
Sanitizers are other possibilities. Browse through the pages
on these topics for more information. Sorry, that I couldn't
provide all of the details.
Sincerely. Alan Schuster, 6/24/2010
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