In Memoriam: Janice Dickman — 1946-2019

If it had been left up to her, Janice Dickman’s greatest goal in life was to be a Mommy.

And even though she gave birth to only one child, there are at least a half dozen people walking this earth who grew up calling her “Mom.”

She was born Janice Lee Wilson on Oct. 2, 1946, in Fort Myers, Fla., and died peacefully in her sleep this past Jan. 16 in  San Clemente, Calif., her home for the past 20 years.

By Marcelle Dibrell

Why did you decide to work for yourself? You wanted to make your own hours, right? Take Friday off and play golf? Sleep in occasionally?

So, how’s that working out for you?

You may have heard the phrase: an entrepreneur is someone who works 80 hours a week so they don’t have to work 40 for someone else.

By Staff Writer 

The belief that spa maintenance is the same as pool maintenance could not be further from the truth. 

For one thing, spas are used at elevated temperatures, which has a huge effect on many factors. It not only increases bather waste, but also changes a disinfectant’s reaction rates, which in turn, changes the types of by-products that are produced. 

By Marcelle Dibrell 

With the right equipment and problem solving skills, pool and spa professionals can expand their business into leak detection. 

That’s what Lance Anderson believes, and he has decades of experience to back him up. Anderson is the owner of Anderson Manufacturing, one of the largest manufacturers of pool leak detection equipment in the country. His company provides a full range of tools and supplies for finding and fixing leaks. These products range from simple test plugs and dye testing tools to sophisticated electronics for listening to leaks underground in the plumbing, tracking leaks in vinyl liners, and identifying water loss rates in minutes.

By Marcelle Dibrell 

Winter, for the pool and spa industry, represents a brief reprieve from the everyday hustle that is marked by the swim season. Water chemistry, no longer influenced by bather load, is a breeze. 

The leaves have fallen and have long since been filtered out. The pools are covered.

It’s the time the industry has allotted for regional trade shows, presenting service professionals the opportunity to brush up on their knowledge, to learn new skills, and become familiar with new products and equipment.

According to Patrick Jackson, Plumbing and Electrical Division Manager for Alan Smith Pool Plastering, Inc., located in Orange, California, most residential pools have electrical hazards and violations. 

For more than 30 years, Alan Smith Pool Plastering has been in the business of renovation and new construction, and has completed tens of thousands of projects. Jackson has been with the company since 2011, and, conducts electrical safety inspections prior to and after the completion of commercial and residential renovations. 

Among other things, Jackson does continuity testing, to verify that pools are properly bonded. He checks for stray voltage in the water itself. He checks GFCI functionality. In general, he verifies that pools are up to the National Electric Code.

And he says most of his pre-site inspections turn up glaring NEC violations. Some of these pools are regularly serviced and maintained by professional service technicians. 

Many of the replacement equipment installations Jackson sees are not electrically bonded. Many are lacking GFCI protection. It is not uncommon for him to find that the water has a little stray current.

This summer, the staff of Service Industry News accompanied Jackson to his pre-site inspections. We wanted to see what the experts look for in an electrical inspection. But in particular, we wanted to be able to tell pool and spa service professionals how they can begin to create an electrical safety checklist at the pools they service.

By Marcelle Dibrell 

Homeowners hire pool and spa technicians for myriad reasons but perhaps the main one is that they simply cannot get their pools as polished and pristine as the professionals can. 

That is because, in addition the pool pros knowledge of proper water balance and disinfection, they also know something about specialty chemicals. They know the products that work — and the ones that are simply snake oil. And within each class of chemicals, they have their favorite brands. 

Let’s face it: not all enzymes were created equal; not all sequestering agents prevent stains, and some spa purges seem to do literally nothing.

By Marcelle Dibrell 

With Labor Day behind us, the traditional swim season has come to an end, and pool professionals across the country have answered the call to shut down pools for the winter. 

But what about those pool owners who are simply not ready to put an end to this year’s backyard fun?

And what about those pools located in regions where “winter” means a slight drop in temperature and perhaps wearing a light sweater?