Two weeks before the January 2012 Atlantic City Pool and Spa Show, I decided to attend and see what was new in the pool and spa world.
I was able to get some cheap tickets, flying from Buffalo International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport for $220 round trip (all be it on two different airlines, with lay overs and cattle class). The trip from Philly to Atlantic City was made easier by getting a rental car for three days at $40 per day. The route back and forth is easy with just one minor onramp issue at I75 to I95 as you need to go through the toll booths just before the ramp exit which threw me off. I instead took an access road just before the toll booths which the police officer didn't like too much but gave me a pass. Be prepared for the tolls along the way, you'll need $3.75 each way and $5 if you don't do what I did after Walt Whitman bridge.
I used Hotwire.com to book my travels and hotels.com to reserve the hotel room. I decided on the Trump Plaza for $41. The room was decent with a good view of the boardwalk and ocean.
The show is very large covering 457,200 sq.ft of showroom space. over 500 exhibitors and over 10,000 attendees.
I will briefly highlight some of the new and interesting products that caught my eye.
PortOpong - Beer pong for the pool! I give Jerry Piscitelli, co-founder of portOpong credit for putting some excitment back into the "backyard experiance". It's a simple concept that give hours of fun to pool owners. www.portopong.com
The next two items are clever solutions to the standard swimming pool return.
Infusion Pool Products has created a replacement return line fitting that creates a venturi (suction) and draws the water from the "dead area" above the return.
I really like this product and hope to have a product review soon.
The vented back of the fitting allows water to be sucked into the back and dispursed out the front, naturally creating all water flow. www.vfitting.com
On these same lines, Eco Blu has created a variable replacement eyeball for swimming pool return lines. This was another really creative solution to a simple problem, how do you create constant return line pressure (velocity) when using a variable speed pump.
These new variable speed pumps are getting more popular and there is a need to somehow simply adjust the return opening to coincide with the pump speed.
Solution, the iBall, a flexible silicone diaphram that expands as more water pressure pushes on it. Now you can get the water circulating and skimming normally and get cleaner surface water and improved water dispursment.
I spoke with Director of Operational Planning and Sales, Zachary Schulz, and he indicated that there are some new inventions soon to be on the market. The iPro Valve which will automatically allow more water from your bottom drain when your skimmer basket becomes clogged and an auto directional return eyeball that will automatically direct water to the bottom of the pool when your heater is turned on.
I hope to review these products soon. www.ecobluweb.com
If you hate having large objects finding their way into the skimmer basket then the Skimmer Grille is a new product to fix that.
Simply snap the grill over the existing skimmer plate and voila, protection. No more toys getting sucked in, no more large twigs, small dogs, pool noodles, thermometers, etc. getting sucked in. www.skimmergrille.com
Also from the same company, the Skimmer Plug, which is a snap in winterizing skimmer plate to completely seal the skimmer when winterizing.
A neat new accessory that I can see having some popularity with consummers is the underwater stool. Two manufacturers had similar products Envy Pool Products and AlphaSun Technologies.
Envys' The Pool Stool had a built in LED multi colour light and an screw type adjustable height. www.thepoolstool.com
AlphaSun's product comes in different colours with optional light. www.poolstools.net
As I spoke with Tony Oropallo about his product, The Pool Pillow Pal, I realized that we in Canada or at least in Ontario, do not winterize our aboveground pools with Pool Pillows.
I remember the winter of I think 2007 when we had a rash of aboveground pools collapse during a very hard winter. I emagined if we had used these pillows that perhaps we could have avoided these probelms as the pillow would take the force of the ice and not the pool wall. Please comment below if you have any ideas on this.
Anyway, back to the Pool Pillow Pal, it is a simple way to attach the pillow to the winter cover without using strings or ropes. www.thepoolpillowpal.com
And finally a new way to test swimming pool water at the retail store, Lamotte's Waterlink Spin. It is a single use disk that the water tester injects only once with 10 ml of water and then insert the disk into the "spinner" to directly enter the results to your computer.
One disk will test for 10 factors including Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, Bromine, pH, Calcium Hardness, Total Alkalinity, Cyanuric Acid, Copper, Iron, Borate. www.lamotte.com
Hayward was showing their new Aqua Connect system that allows you to connect your Hayward control panels directly to your network to allow you control of your system through the internet or smartphone / iphone. I hope to get my hands on one this summer and post a review.
Also being displayed was the Salt and Swim disposable salt water chlorine generator. They had two models, a 6 month and a 1 year cell. Interesting idea which may be a good way to overcome consumers that expect a cell that lasts for the lifetime of the pool. It should also reduce trouble shooting calls for defunct salt cells and give the store return sales.
I'm not sure if they are available in Canada so I will place a call and update the article.
Well, I'll end the article here. There were more items displayed but I think these stood out most to me.