David Simek has been a part of the swimming pool and hot tub industry for over 24 years having worked in retail, service, build and manufacturing environments.
The Toronto Chapter of the Pool and Hot Tub Council had a very successful training day this past Saturday March 2, 2013 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
The mood was sky high as four topics were covered, including two certificates. Attendees were taught pool equipment operation, chemistry 101, wastewater discharge BMP and WHMIS. Attendees will receive after successful completion, 400 education credits per person to qualify for enhanced insurance coverage, a waste water discharge BMP certificate and a WHMIS certificate.
The Toronto Chapter is holding three of these training days and all pool and Hot Tub industry professionals are welcome. The training is free for Pool and Hot Tub Council members and $100 for non-members.
When you condisder the low cost of membership to become a Pool and Hot Tub Council member. in most cases approximatelly $500, this one day course can easily cover a years membership! The waste water discharge Certificate is $25 for member companies and $50 for non-members, WHIMIS training can be $100 per person and the applicable training credits can get you additional legal help through the approved insurance provider and everyone knows what legal advice can cost!
Some companies are sending multiple employees to the course so you can easily see the benefits financially, plus you get lunch and coffee provided!
There are two educational days left, Oshawa on March 23rd and Vaughan on April 6th, see below for download.
For more information contact Mette Yellowlees at mette(at)rogers.com for more information.
In November I signed up for Google AdWords for Agencies and went through their training to become better versed in the AdWords offerings and keyword targeting.
I just received their starter pack which they gave me a total of $2000 to give out as $100 certificates / coupons to anyone starting their AdWords campaigns. All you need to do is start your AdWords with $25 and you get an additional $100 credit to your account.
Anyone wishing a coupon please contact me to start you off. I can give specific pool and spa insight and a no strings attached start to your online marketing. If you are interested give me an e-mail at dave(at)poolz.com, I only have 20 coupons and they expire in February.
I have been spending some time trying to convince my wife why our family needs a 3D printer. She likes the idea but not the price tag.
I explained to her that this is the future and it will be a great tool for my daughter. We left off that I need to make something first and then we will talk.
I've been frustrated with my swimming pool skimmer basket as it has cracked three times in two seasons from too much debris being caught in it. In fact I spoke to some pool dealers and they stated that the skimmer mold must have been changed for this particular skimmer (Kafko) as they have seen many baskets being sucked into the skimmer well requiring to be broken to free them from the skimmer throat and to get past the lip at the top. We think the manufacturer has changed the lip design that the skimmer rests on and when the suction gets too great, the skimmer slips past the lip, requiring it to be broken to free it. It also splits the skimmer basket along a seam vertically.
So here I sit, about to enter 2013 and I am thinking that there must be a better way.
Money Where My Mouth Is
My new year's resolution, learn about 3D publishing, design a new and improved skimmer, make it available to everyone - for free.
Yes this is going against my University Business Commerce training, everything I know about business "buy low, sell high" and patent everything.
As part of my learning process I will be asking for help from anyone willing to assist. I hope that you will make suggestions to help me make the best skimmer basket available on the market.
A Perfect Skimmer Basket
Here is a picture of my skimmer basket, with a 3rd party handle to help remove it from the skimmer (Skimmer Angel, thank you Matt K for the donation) and skimmer sock that helps filter fine particles. I think both products are essential but are not easily compatible. If you add a skimmer handle, the sock does not fit. Add a skimmer sock and then the handle, you cut the fabric and make it difficult to clean out when dirty.
Add the problem of chemical addition using the skimmer and constant cleaning (at certain times of the year I have to check the skimmer every two hours. Many different trees in my backyard including one that is a 130 foot Cotton Wood tree that releases "fluff" in early summer (see the picture of my air conditioner after one season). A perfect skimmer would also have a vent that would prevent water flow restriction.
CMP has created an add on handle that you screw into your existing skimmer. It looks like a great idea, having it moulded into the shape of a handle for easy access and handling. I saw it at the 2011 pool show and I still have not been able to buy one. This 2012 season I tried the manufacturer and all the distributors but none of them could get it!
My Journey Begins
Motivated by a recent book I read "Free: The future of a Radical Price" by Chris Anderson, I will document my journey and make it available to anyone that wishes to use it. My old self would have hired a product designer to render the idea, a lawyer to patent it and a licensee to pay me royalties.
Today I will do it all myself with a hope that a community builds on this idea, contributing, participating and learning. A truly and perhaps the first Open Source swimming pool project!
Join me, the new Pool Spa 3.0 is here!
Variable speed pumps and two speed pumps are becoming more and more popular. You may have noticed that one of the drawbacks of reducing the pump speed is that water circulation suffers. The reason for this is that the return jet orifices remain constant diameter thus not focusing the water jet into a powerful stream.
Enter some creative guys out of the states, and the iBall is created. Using a flexible silicone diaphragm encased in an over sized clear plastic case. They are able to keep the water velocity stable out of the return, much the same way that you create a jet with your garden hose by covering the open end with your thumb,
Previously, as the pump would reduce speed the water in the swimming pool would not circulate as efficiently. Normally you would have the jets pointed in such a way as to maximize water turn-over, surface skimming, chemical dispersion and heat retention. As the water velocity decreases, all these factors are affected.
Eco Blu's iBall fixes this problem simply and efficiently.
I have tried the iBall this season and it works as advertised. The added bonus is that on one speed pumps there is a benefit as the skimmer or filter gets plugged you continue to keep the same back pressure and eyeball flow.
- simple installation, remove your old eyeball jet and replace it with the iBall
- universal, replacing most standard return jets
- attractive design
- keeps water circulating in a stable way as the pump speed changes
- silicone material is more susceptible to degradation and tearing (I did speak to the manufacturer and there is an iBall 2.0 coming out that has improved silicone, is translucent and a slight change in the orifice. I will be getting samples and an updated review next season).
I like the iBall Velocity, it is a simple solution to help keep the pool with variable speed and two stage pumps running at 100% efficiency which helps the home owner save time, money and frustration. You may need to replace the iBall after a season or two of use but if that is the case it is a small inconvenience, similar to adding a maintenance clarifier into the pool (time, money, savings).
Manufacturer Website: ecobluweb.com
This past weekend CBC's Marketplace aired an episode on Swimming Pool Repair companies. The spot was shot in Oakville Ontario and our own Phil Bach was the swimming pool expert.
Not surprisingly they got some less than professional reactions but not from any "legit" pool company. All of the companies that they called were professional, arrived in lettered trucks and had uniforms on. Good job to the real pool people! All of them diagnosed the problems correctly and in short order.
What the CBC did was also call two people from Kijiji, a free online classified website, to fix their pool problem. Not surprisingly these people did a very bad job. I don't like that they lumped them into a segment on pool professionals because they weren't.
The final assessment for me is that you get what you pay for. Using someone with no references, credetials or references is a very big gamble.
As a thank you for following the Poolz.com website and in honour of the driSuit waterproof iPhone case review I will be giving away a Brand New YELLOW (just came out) driSuit endurance waterproof iPhone case. The winner will be chosen November 30, 2012 at 12 noon.
To enter simply register on the forum. You can also participate on the social pages to also get a chance to win.
Our prefered social pages are Google+, Linkedin and Twitter (only industry professionals are eligible).
It's that time of year again when the weather starts getting colder, swimming pools are being put to bed and we start planning for the 2012 trade shows.
This year the 2012 Canadian Pool and Spa Conference and Expo will be held in Niagara Falls, Ontario again following a successful move from the Toronto Congress Centre. It will be held on November 26 - 29th at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.
I just received a promotional deal from the Niagara Falls Hilton that falls on the dates of the show. It is a really good deal if you will be attending the show with two or more people. Rather than repeating the offer, I have made an image of the e-mail promotion and the deal code is NIGHTS11 which is good until October 2nd, 2012. Click on he image for a direct link to the Hilton registration page.
I chose this over the official show accommodation deal which is also at the Hilton Hotel & Suites - Fallsview. The show deal is either the South Tower for $99 or the North Tower for $129 per night.
The North Tower is newer and the rooms are what you would expect at the Hilton with the option to upgrade to a two room suite.
Parking can be tricky as the Hilton charges $20 a night to self park or $25 for valet. You can save some money by either parking across the Hotel at the Casino which charges a flat fee of either $5 or $10 (look at the parking sign when you are checking in for current prices). I couldn't get a straight answer but if you have a PAC card (Players Advantage Card) for the casino you may be eligible for comped parking. The other option is to park at the Scotiabank Conference Centre parking lot for free.
I tried to see what entertainment was happening at the time of the show and could only find "The Spirit of Christmas" playing at the Fallsview Casino and The Red Bull Crashed Iced World Championship happening on December 1st.
I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there!
It is always a good idea to promote your business in memorable and creative ways and vanity phone numbers are a great way to do this. The easier it is for a customer to remember your business or get in contact with you the better.
Vanity toll free phone numbers have become fairly inexpensive and some good names are still available. As of writing this blog (September 10,2012) the following numbers were still available:
1-855-676-7665 (POOL) 1-855-647-7946 (SWIM) 1-855-444-3865 (DUNK) 1-855-966-9882 (MYTUB)
The provider that I use is Voip.ms a voice over IP company. They charge a $30 set-up fee, $1.49 per month and 3.2 cents per minute charge. Yes you can convert your land line to VOIP, all you require is the internet and an ATA device.
Good luck with your search and don't be afraid to be creative.
Choose a business name, your website name, a related word or just something memorable. Voip.ms has a search utility when you log in to their interface. You can search vanity toll free numbers and local numbers as well.
Do you have a great phone number? If yes post it in the comments.
I was lucky enough to be one of the first people in the world to try the new Maytronics Dolphin Hybrid RS-1 suction cleaner. The cleaner will make its deput at the Piscine 2012 tradeshow in France this November.
What makes this cleaner special is that it uses Hybrid technology to create electrical power using the suction side of the swimming pool system to power the scanning computer. The cleaner scans the swimming pool and will target areas to clean. What this means is that you get a cleaner pool faster. No more random cleaning patterns and load movement mechanisms (diaphragm or oscillating hammer).
The features of the RS-1 are:
- Electrically Self-powered System - Uses pool water circulation to generate electricity for the scanning system. Electrical LED indicator signals normal operation and indicates flow rates.
- Drive System - Electrical switch operates the driving gear for efficient, quick and precise maneuvering. Wall sensor, slope climbing and drain escape abilities.
- Pool Coverage - CleverClean scanning algorithm ensures excellent and efficient pool coverage. Covers a mid-sized pool in approximately 1.5 hours.
- Thorough Brushing Capabilities - The Dolphin Hybrid RS 1 is the only suction cleaner equipped with a brush that thoroughly scrubs the pool floor to remove algae and bacteria.
- Cleaning Capabilities - Patent-pending, super-efficient turbine allows continuous transmission of dirt through the turbine to the filter. Handle even rough debris, including, small acorns, long palm leaves and other rough debris, guaranteeing smooth operation. Efficient suction chamber leaves a clean path while scanning the pool.
- Escape Mode - CleverClean software identifies when the robot has reached a wall or object and efficiently maneuvers the robot back into the scanning pattern. Overcomes obstacles, such as drain covers, using mechanical and software systems.
- Energy Saving - Dolphin Hybrid RS 1 cleans the entire pool in a very short time requiring minimal usage of the pool pump’s energy.
- Leaf Canister (optional) - A Fine filtration canister that connects to the last section of the hose (prior to the skimmer) provides an additional filtration layer, this reduces the load of the main pool filtration system.
- Included Accessories - Skimmer adapter, 90° Adapter, Automatic Safety Valve, Flow Indicator.
It works as advertised, immediately flashes a blue light when the hose is attached to the skimmer. You see the difference compared to other suction side cleaners as it systematically crawls and turns its way around the pool. As I was filming the unit in the pool (the instructions state not to use the pool while the cleaner is in action) it would almost follow me around making turns and coming to "clean" me. This all could be my imagination but it did feel that way. It also targeted a large twig that was in my pool on first start-up, very interesting).
The swimming pool was cleaned in approximately an hour and the pool bottom was noticeably smooth and debris free. There was no calcium carbonate deposits left behind (I have a salt cell) and the pre filter showed a large amount of debris.
- Fast thorough clean
- Quiet operation
- Rotating cleaning brush and floor cleaning brush
- Easy to use and operate
- Uses suction efficiently (I have a 1/2 hp high efficiency pump and it still showed over max suction on the gauge)
- No shut off timer, always on
- Will not clean walls or stairs (it appeared to have some difficulty on steep slopes.
Poolz.cm gives this unit a five out of five.
It is a well built unit that excels in its category.
Manufacturer website: http://www.maytronics.com
Product page: Dolphin RX1 Cleaner
Do you find yourself working near the swimming pool and worried about using your iPhone? There are so many things that can go wrong, a drop on the concrete, a splash from the water hose, a quick drop in the pool or simply answering the phone while it is raining outside.
Well now you have a solution, the DriSuit Endurance by DriSuit technologies (www.mydrisuit.com). It is a fully shockproof and waterproof iPhone case that is still 100% functional.
The case is tested to IP-68 rating which is safe to use at a depth of 5 meters and is shockproof. What makes this case excel over all other cases is that it also remains 100% fully functional.
What does this mean? It means that you can use the headphone jack anytime including submerged! It means that you can make and receive phone calls with the case on. It means that the screen remains active even under water! This is a big one since no other case boasts this feature. If you want to take pictures or video while in the water the fluidic touchscreen responds to your touch. The other advantage of the fluidic touchscreen is that it also acts as a shock absorber for the front of the phone.
I can attest to the ruggedness of this feature. While testing the case, I left it on the side of my swimming pool streaming music via AirPlay. My 89 pound golden retriever got very excited over some splashing we were doing and while running, pounced on the face of the phone sending it skidding into the water!
There was no damage to the phone, his claws did not puncture the membrane and the case suffered some major scratches on the back but nothing to the lens on the case.
This was a little beyond my testing plan.
I tested all capabilities and they all passed. The touchscreen works submerged (allow 20 seconds to acclimatize) the audio jack works and is waterproof.
The home button works and so do the volume and power buttons. The only button that is not usable is the mute toggle, which has a membrane exposing it but is so tight that you cannot move the toggle up or down.
- Very rugged, shockproof
- fluidic touch screen adds extra protection to the front glass
- Waterproof to 5 meters
- Touch screen can be used underwater
- Case can hold one credit card
- Mechanical seal (cam lock)
- Smallest seal area (around bottom rather than perimeter of phone)
- Easy to open seal to dock and charge, any cable will work
- Audio jack is watertight and fully functional, any headphone will work with or without audio microphone
- Excellent pictures underwater (all underwater pictures were taken by the driSuit case)
- Allows space for a credit card or room key.
- Capacitive touch screen takes getting used to. More pressure is required to produce a key press or swipe.
- Key press is difficult near the edges of the screen where the fluidic membrane and the hard case join together.
- Multi touch gestures are very very difficult (pinch to zoom or expand, etc.) See my work around below.
- Slightly bulky (thickness of case and screen)
- Mute / silent toggle not useable (see my work around below)
- To access the sync / charging port you must open the case.
- Pictures taken above water were inconsistent, sometimes clear and sometimes blurry (I did make sure that the lens was clean, I believe it is due to a slight gap between the phone and the case which if pressed tight takes clear pictures).
The driSuit Endurance is a excellent waterproof iPhone case that will protect your phone from many dangers. If you work around or near water and want the peace of mind that your phone will be protected then the driSuit is for you. I give this a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.
As a side note I have observed the excellent level of customer service by this company. I have been treated very well, they took back the scratched case and replaced it for me at no charge.
Unlike other cases, the phone is easily accessible in the case and once sealed the phone is protected with no chances of forgetting an opening, like the headphone jack or charging port.
Currently you can purchase the phone from the manufacturer directly driSuit Technologies for $59.95 or contact Dany Mallah who works in the pool and spa industry but also supplies mobile phones and accessories. You can contact Dany at CDM Sales and Services, 416-676-8003 or dm(at)cdmsales-services.com.
As a thank you for my avid readers, I will be giving away one driSuit Endurance (Yellow Edition), all you need to do is "LIKE" the poolz.com Facebook page or make a post on the poolz.com forums.
I will announce the winner on November 30, 2012 (yes, just after the 2012 Canadian Pool and Spa Conference and Expo).
Set-up AssistiveTouch on your iPhone
1- Select “Settings”
2- Select “General”
3- Scroll down and Select “Accessibility”
4- Scroll down and select “Triple-click Home”
5- Select “Toggle AssistiveTouch”
6- You’ve now activated the AssistiveTouch feature, click the Home button once to leave the settings area.
7- Now lets try the feature.
8- Press your Home button three (3) times consecutively. It usually takes a few seconds for the program to start. When it does you will see a translucent black square with a white circle in the middle. You may move it to a location on the screen that you prefer by pressing and holding it with your finger, then sliding it to where you want it.
9- Press the square once and the box opens to show four options, Gestures, Home, Device and Favorites.
10- Press “Device” and select “Mute”
11- That’s it, you can now easily Mute and Un-mute your phone.
12- Try the Pinch feature by pressing “Favorites” then “Pinch”. Now you can pinch with just one finger!