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Equipping pools, new and old, with remote control capabilities

Technician-friendly technology

When variable-speed pumps (VSPs) operate at low speeds, friction or resistance from the pipe drops and energy is saved, as they do not have to work as hard as a single-speed pump.
When variable-speed pumps (VSPs) operate at low speeds, friction or resistance from the pipe drops and energy is saved, as they do not have to work as hard as a single-speed pump.

This new technology is also designed with service technicians in mind. In fact, all a service technician needs to work with when installing these systems is some low-voltage wiring and wire nuts. If he/she can replace a pump, they can install a VSP with a control system.

As mentioned earlier, the DOE recently announced a mandate requiring VSPs to power a pool or hot tub’s filtration system, and other applications, by 2021. Homeowners, in effect, will have to ask themselves, “If I have to upgrade to a new pump anyway, why not add a smart control system while I am at it?”

According to Gary Fernstrom, an energy consultant who participated in the DOE committee that wrote the new regulation, the financial burden of this upgrade is dramatically reduced by the VSPs quick payback, likely within two years. Throw in a possible rebate from the local utility and the days of nighttime walks to the pump are over.

Currently, there is no similar legislation in Canada; however, that is not to say there will not be any comparable regulations in the future—especially given pending legislation in other areas of the world such as Australia and Europe.

That said, thanks to the success of the PoolSaver program experienced by the participating utilities in Ontario last year, it is expected the program may continue to expand to other communities in the future.

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRC), an Energy Star-certified pool pump uses 70 per cent less energy, on average, than a standard model, as they can run at different speeds and be programmed to match the pool operation. The NRC also suggests pool owners use an Internet-connected pump to provide full control, even at a distance.

In this regard, compatibility with ‘smart’ devices factors large in a control system upgrade. Many smart control systems work across all popular mobile devices and are compatible with home automation systems like Nest and voice-activated products such as Amazon Alexa.

Everyone is a winner

A smart control system is a win-win-win for the retail aftermarket sector, the trade, and the consumer. Pool and hot tub retailers and their customers have waited too long for an affordable, easy-to-use smart control system, especially when it pays for itself.

Time is money, and for technicians, as the more customers they see, the more they can service, and the more money they can make. The more time a technician has to spend on a single jobsite, means less money. As a result, the ease and speed at which a technician can set-up a VSP with a smart controller has really resonated within the industry.

This technology is a straightforward proposition and service technicians do not have to spend a lot of time selling it—especially since the market has been shifting towards VSPs. Now, without having to spend much more money, the homeowner can also get remote control capabilities. They are not putting a hard sell on the homeowner and taking up time. Instead, service technicians are able to do something they have not been able to do before, which is the ability to introduce new technology where it previously did not exist.

Greg Fournier (left) is the senior product manager of controls and backyard synergy for Hayward Pool Products. He is responsible for developing products that maximize the homeowner’s backyard experience and building upon the company’s legacy of innovative controls and lighting. Fournier has experience in designing, manufacturing, sourcing, and marketing innovative electronic products. He can be reached via e-mail at gfournier@hayward.com.

Scott Petty is the global product manager for pumps and filters for Hayward Pool Products. Previously, he managed Hayward’s test facilities and agency compliance activities. Over the course of 15 years in the pool industry, Petty has cultivated an expertise in energy efficiency and hydraulics. He has a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from North Carolina State University and a MBA from Wake Forest University. He can be reached via e-mail at spetty@haywardnet.com.

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