Service Industry News

For more than 29 years, Service Industry News has served as the voice of the pool and spa service professional. A twice monthly newspaper, the staff covers featured stories on equipment installation, trouble-shooting and repair; water chemistry and business issues facing the industry; and news pertaining to the interests of the pool and spa technician.

In addition to the newspaper, we have produced three technical books used throughout the industry as training and reference guides. The Professional Pool Technicians' Guide to ChlorineGuide to Alternative Sanitizers and the Guide to pH, Alkalinity, Water Testing and Water Balance are compiled from articles that originally appeared in our newspaper.

We've also updated and republished an industry classic on pool care, Charlie Taylor's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pool Care. This light, easy-to understand and illustrated book has long been a part of any complete library on pool care. Now, it's also available in Spanish!

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An eco-friendly alternative to draining pools

By Marcelle Dibrell

Jeff Brown, owner of Aquatique Pool Care, operates out of Austin, Texas, in recent years has been steadily building his business with a growing reputation for the work he does in reverse osmosis. 

An NSPF and CPO instructor, Brown also provides general pool and spa maintenance, as well as tile cleaning and salt conversion, but it is reverse osmosis that is really causing business to boom.

We originally spoke to Brown a year ago, when he was considering moving his company to Florida. 

The exceptionally high water table in Florida makes draining a pool a dicey proposition. 

Reverse osmosis provides a viable alternative. He found that in Florida, however, the idea of reverse osmosis hasn’t really caught on. 

“They just don’t care about it,” Brown says. 

While he did open a retail store in Orlando, he has since focused on building his business at home. 

And with a patented reverse osmosis unit purchased from a company in Arizona,Brown has been busy purifying pools in Texas.

Reverse osmosis is a process of water purification that removes contaminants from the water to produce clean, clear, pure water. 

“I can remove anything that you can measure in parts per million, and I can drink

the water when I’m done,” Brown says. 

Brown uses a form of reverse osmosis that can remove bivalvent hardness, calcium, magnesium and sulfates. 

This process can remove pool chemicals and contaminants like cyanuric acid, chlorine, nitrates and phosphates. 

In addition, his system can be used to to soften hard water. 

Brown’s system is totally portable, with wheels as well as a generator, so that he doesn’t have to tap into his customer’s electricity. 

Much of his business comes from pool owners who will simply toss in a three-inch tab whenever they need chlorine. 

“I’ve seen up to 700 parts per million cyanuric acid, but when I’m finished, it’s gone,” Brown says. 

Brown will service pools such as these every other year. 

He also cites an additional advantage: reverse osmosis is an effective way to remove scale. 

Because the process strips the calcium from the water, the calcium scale on pool and spa walls comes into solution. 

“I’ve worked on pools with this process and the scale was gone in three weeks,” Brown says. 

A lot of the business he gets is simple. 

The source water there has a very high mineral content. Also higher temperatures bring calcium out of solution. 

“I’ll visit a typical pool every three to four years, just to keep the calcium from scaling up the stonework, especially on spas, when the temperature makes the calcium precipitate out,” Brown says. 

Well made, quality-machine reverse osmosis units can cost anywhere between $13,000 to $15,000. Some units can be as high as the 6-figure range, especially when they come equipped with a trailer. 

Reverse osmosis units are definitely an investment, but Brown is making a good living by purifying pools and spas, and charging anywhere from $500 to $850 per job, depending on the amount and quality of the water. 

He says that a 20,000-gallon pool can be purified in 24 hours. 

Working with reverse osmosis systems, however, is complicated. It is a process that requires a lot of skill, precision and experience. 

Over the years, Brown has learned to perfect the craft, but he hasn’t worked alone. 

And for the help he has received, Brown wishes to thank his friend, Sal Paldino, Vice President of Pool Service Technologies located in San Diego, Calif., for his assistance. 

“Sal has done a lot to improve the efficiency of the system, and has been a great help to me,” Brown says.