I recently had the opportunity to attend the Piscina & Wellness Barcelona Global Aquatic Exhibition in October and the International Pool/Spa/Patio Expo in Ontario, Fl. U.S.A. the following month. Both shows are impressive, with hundreds of manufacturers of pool and spa products showing off their latest products and offering support to those that sell them. What I always find fascinating are the differences between the European and U.S. market. Here in Europe, pool sanitation products have a strong foothold in the industry, whether that be UV, Ozone, Hydroxyl-Based Oxidation, or Chlorine Generators. In the U.S. market, pool automation is king! This is largely consumer-driven; after all, who doesn’t want to control their pool from their smartphone?!? Builders are offering their clients fire features, extensive lighting options, both inside the pool and in the surrounding landscape, underwater speakers, multiple jet arrays in spas, the list goes on and on. Automating all of these systems is no longer an option, it’s become a necessity.
Some of these innovations in automation are making their way here, and as pools get more complex, with lighting, cleaners, and sanitation systems, automating them will be the norm. In the days following the trade shows I mentioned, I sifted through all the brochures I accumulated and found two products I would like to share with you. One is a wireless autofill system made by Kona Labs out of the U.S., and the other is a pool controller that provides basic automation, made by Saci Pumps of Barcelona.
What I like about the autofill system is that it addresses a real need. In the U.S., most new pools include an autofill of some type, whether that be the float valve type (similar to the type of valve in your toilet tank), or electronic. In our part of the world however, many pools are lacking this most basic component. What this device does is simple. It wirelessly monitors your water level using a sensor discretely installed in the pool skimmer, and adds water when it’s needed. It has built in protection against overfilling the pool, the installation is simple, without the need to tear up the pool decking, and can be installed before or after pool construction. There is even an option to monitor your water level online, with alerts warning you of possible leaks in the pool. This unit can easily be used in ponds, water features, and tanks, essentially in any application where a precise water level is needed. This autofill is a basic form of pool automation that I believe many of our clients would benefit from.
The Saci Smart Control panel is a gem. Again, it fills a need in our market and provides entry level automation for any pool owner. This unit is compact and can be wall mounted, making installation very easy. What the controller does is automate the pool pump, heat pump, chlorine
generator, and lighting. It’s simple to program and can be set up for multiple languages if required. It will automatically turn the pump on if it senses freezing conditions and alternatively, turn the pump off if it senses it is running dry. It can be programmed to turn the pump on and off multiple times during the day. This is ideal for areas where the wind picks up, for instance in the afternoon. The pump turns on during these periods, keeping the pool cleaner. The pool lights can be programmed to turn on and off at a particular time or day as well.
These are just two of many new products in the marketplace that can make the life of a pool owner just a little bit easier. Whether it’s entry-level automation that interests you or you would like more information, our team at Smart Pool Solutions would be happy to help!